Saturday, June 9, 2007

Artist and Muse #20

Al Pacino just received a very well deserved, and long overdue, lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute. I found the picture below, reuniting him with Lady Anne from his great 1996 film LOOKING FOR RICHARD, from the ceremony and thought I would post it.
The Pacino directed documentary LOOKING FOR RICHARD is one of the most fascinating films I have ever seen on the theater, acting and art in general. Gene Siskel called it the best film of 1996 and I don't think he was too far off. Pacino searched long and hard for his Lady Anne and a highlight of the film comes when he suddenly realizes that Winona Ryder would be perfect for it. Ryder at the time was considered, rightfully so, as one of the best young American actress around and her scenes for Pacino are still among the best she ever shot.
LOOKING FOR RICHARD is currently out of print in the States but it will be a part of THE AL PACINO COLLECTION which has been continually delayed since it was announced last year. The box will not only feature a special edition of LOOKING FOR RICHARD but also his rarely seen productions LOCAL STIGMATIC and CHINESE COFFEE.
I am thrilled to see my favorite American actor receiving this honor from the AFI and I am greatly anticipating the televised special of it, which premieres in a couple of weeks.


colinr0380 said...

I agree. I've not been a particularly big fan of Pacino's recent performances from Scent of a Woman on (and I much prefer the original of Insomnia to the remake), but his early work is fantastic. The one exception to my not liking 'late Pacino' is Looking For Richard, which I thought was a really great documentary, and a perfect introduction of the play to someone like me who had never studied it at school (my Shakespeare set texts were Macbeth and King Lear - we actually watched the Polanski film in class! Pan and scanned of course, but in the last couple of weeks I've finally bought the DVD to watch it in widescreen!)

Looking For Richard really seemed to put across the excitment and fun to be had in figuring out and understanding the play and all the different ways you could perform the characters. I don't know whether it is its relative unavailability that had lead to it being a little unappreciated or whether it is just the Shakespeare stigma that makes people think it is more suited to a classroom than their living room, but it certainly deserves more praise.

And there is also that great scene where Pacino accidentally sets off the fire alarms while visiting Shakespeare's birthplace!

Jeremy Richey said...

Thanks Colin,
Good to hear from you again. Yea, I think it's a great film and a great learning tool. I love the way Pacino really disects the play and I think his love for Shakespeare and the theater in general really come through.
I am taking a Shakespear in film class this Fall and recommended to the teacher that she show this film, I'm curious to see if she does.
I also like the original "Insomnia" better but I though Pacino's performance was the best part of the remake.
Thanks again for the comments...